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Fibromyalgia


flyfisher

Question

I served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I have been recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/ Myofascial syndrome by two seperate nurse practioners one of them being my primary care provider and the other in the pain clinic. My primary care provider filled out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire where she stated by pain was not responding to treatment and that her opinion that it was least as likely as not related to my service in the Persian Gulf and exposure to possible environmental causes. I have filed a claim with my VSO and still waiting on a decision. My primary care provider has completed all the blood work to rule out other causes such as arthritis. I have been referrred to neurology and rheumatolgy but have been denied to be seen as they tell me to be treated for chronic pain in response to the referrals.

Has anyone else who served in the Persian Gulf claimed fibromyalgia as a presumptive illness and been granted service connection. I am trying to gain information in case my claim gets denied. Any help would be appreciated.

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Congrats! I just got diagnosed yesterday. Pretty bummed since I'm only 35. I deployed twice to SWA. Think I have a good chance if I file? Rheumotologist diagnosed me.

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It is worth a shot, in my opinion.

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Fibromyalgia is one of the presumptive conditions of the gulf war syndrome. I didn't even have a rheumatologist diagnose me and I was approved first time. I now see a pain specialist routinely and I on medication which has helped some not a complete cure.

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The pain is chronic and widespread. Most often and including compensation regs you need to have pain located in several pressure points on your body. Example pressure points are front / back of neck,elbows, upper/lower back, top of legs right your butt and knees. Other symptoms can be sleep problems . Fibro is often associated with depression , anxiety and PTSD . You can have pain but if you don't have pain in those pressure points then it's hard for diagnosis to be made. For service connection you have to have pain in a certain amount of those pressure points. There is a lot of good info on the internet. I am a RN so if I can be of further assistance let me know. NOT professional advice just a little help from a fellow vet! LOL That's my disclaimer.

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Yes Ray I was diagnosed probably about 2 years ago. They have me on the upper limits of Lyrica but my pain still runs around a five. If there is change in weather or I have been overactive it will go to a 6 or 7. Sorry about the late reply.

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Hello Flyfisher, I am interested about hearing more about your pressure points and perhaps about the onset of your problems.

I am 27 y/o male who deployed 2x to Iraq totaling nearly 21 months of service in theater. I have multiple possible exposures including: biological, anthrax and smallpox vaccines, burn pits, etc etc. I have a history of inflammatory problems throughout service and after service that were nonexistant in my life and I have no family history of these types of medical problems. My wife and I have been dealing with these ailments for years on our own, however I am SC for PTSD and arthritis in both ankles, sinusitis, etc. I do go to the VA mental health clinic and see a psychologist there.

I am very concerned about my health as of right now. I have bad pain in my feet, ankles, knees, wrists, neck, inner elbow, hip, back 24/7. I also have point tenderness at nearly all tendons and points of attachment of my lower extremities. My wife is a massage therapist and she is amazed at how tender and how many points on my body are inflamed on a daily basis. I have been diagnosed with costochondritis, have early onset of hammer toes, etc. Honestly, the pain is now coming to a point where it severely effects me every day of my life. I have a 3 year old son who I simply cannot be active with. I am having more pain, more stiffness, less mobility, and as a result, more depressive thoughts and feelings as the days roll on. I also have many other symptoms related to PTSD and who knows what including memory loss and trouble concentrating.

Over the years, I have continually told my primary care at the local VA about my pain and she would reply "well there's not much we can do about that other than offer you medications." Now I am at a point where I think all of these separate issues could be apart of something greater. I am now trying to go to the WRIISC in DC to go through their diagnostic tests, and hope I can get some type of diagnosis or SOME type of answers. I am very upset about my primary care not having the wherewithal to do some blood tests or even consider the possibility of some type of degenerative condition which I fear I may have as a result of exposures.

A little history. I eat well, I am one of those "organic" people. I eat raw fruit and veggies, nuts and generally eat very healthy. I understand micronutrients and nutrition. I am a student of biology at USF with a history working in healthcare. I buy awesome shoes that support my feet properly. I try and exercise to the best of my ability, and I am not overweight. I take my vitamins and drink plenty of water daily. I do not smoke and have limited alcohol consumption. I try and make make conscious health decisions every single day and yet I have these debilitating aches and pains all day every day.

Sorry for the crazy long post, but I've been out for 5 years, been dealing with this for 6, and I am just looking for some possible answers. After looking at the onset/symptoms for fibro and RA I am concerned about my undiagnosed ailments.

Thank you,
OIFMedic

Edited by OIFMedic (see edit history)
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OIFMedic

Posted Today, 11:14 AM

Hello Flyfisher, I am interested about hearing more about your pressure points and perhaps about the onset of your problems.

I am 27 y/o male who deployed 2x to Iraq totaling nearly 21 months of service in theater. I have multiple possible exposures including: biological, anthrax and smallpox vaccines, burn pits, etc etc. I have a history of inflammatory problems throughout service and after service that were nonexistant in my life and I have no family history of these types of medical problems. My wife and I have been dealing with these ailments for years on our own, however I am SC for PTSD and arthritis in both ankles, sinusitis, etc. I do go to the VA mental health clinic and see a psychologist there.

I am very concerned about my health as of right now. I have bad pain in my feet, ankles, knees, wrists, neck, inner elbow, hip, back 24/7. I also have point tenderness at nearly all tendons and points of attachment of my lower extremities. My wife is a massage therapist and she is amazed at how tender and how many points on my body are inflamed on a daily basis. I have been diagnosed with costochondritis, have early onset of hammer toes, etc. Honestly, the pain is now coming to a point where it severely effects me every day of my life. I have a 3 year old son who I simply cannot be active with. I am having more pain, more stiffness, less mobility, and as a result, more depressive thoughts and feelings as the days roll on. I also have many other symptoms related to PTSD and who knows what including memory loss and trouble concentrating.

Over the years, I have continually told my primary care at the local VA about my pain and she would reply "well there's not much we can do about that other than offer you medications." Now I am at a point where I think all of these separate issues could be apart of something greater. I am now trying to go to the WRIISC in DC to go through their diagnostic tests, and hope I can get some type of diagnosis or SOME type of answers. I am very upset about my primary care not having the wherewithal to do some blood tests or even consider the possibility of some type of degenerative condition which I fear I may have as a result of exposures.

A little history. I eat well, I am one of those "organic" people. I eat raw fruit and veggies, nuts and generally eat very healthy. I understand micronutrients and nutrition. I am a student of biology at USF with a history working in healthcare. I buy awesome shoes that support my feet properly. I try and exercise to the best of my ability, and I am not overweight. I take my vitamins and drink plenty of water daily. I do not smoke and have limited alcohol consumption. I try and make make conscious health decisions every single day and yet I have these debilitating aches and pains all day every day.

Sorry for the crazy long post, but I've been out for 5 years, been dealing with this for 6, and I am just looking for some possible answers. After looking at the onset/symptoms for fibro and RA I am concerned about my undiagnosed ailments.

Thank you,

OIFMedic

The thing about fibromyalgia is not only there is no cure; there is no standard of medical treatment. Medication that works for one person may not work for another. There is no standard of laboratory test to prove or disprove that a person has it. There is no magic pill to take away the pain. The only thing a person can do is try to see a rheumatologist for management. I say management because I have had several rheumatologists to tell me that they cannot do anything for me except monitor my condition to see if and when I may need surgery. They have also told me that I will most likely not need surgery because my pain is in my muscles, nerves, and tendons. Fibromyalgia is a bear to deal with. It is very frustrating and depressing knowing that you are very limited in the things that you can do and there is nothing you can do about it. Keep in mind that fibromyalgia is a cluster of symptoms from; Fatigue, IBS, Migraines, Sleep Disorder, trigger point pain, numbness and tingling in your extremities and other conditions that will just irritate you. Most doctors' will try to treat the separate symptoms but all that does is put medication in your body that seems not to work but if you don't take the medication you feel worst. I hope you find some help but unfortunately I have not.

Edited by pete992 (see edit history)
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The thing about fibromyalgia is not only there is no cure; there is no standard of medical treatment. Medication that works for one person may not work for another. There is no standard of laboratory test to prove or disprove that a person has it. There is no magic pill to take away the pain. The only thing a person can do is try to see a rheumatologist for management. I say management because I have had several rheumatologists to tell me that they cannot do anything for me except monitor my condition to see if and when I may need surgery. They have also told me that I will most likely not need surgery because my pain is in my muscles, nerves, and tendons. Fibromyalgia is a bear to deal with. It is very frustrating and depressing knowing that you are very limited in the things that you can do and there is nothing you can do about it. Keep in mind that fibromyalgia is a cluster of symptoms from; Fatigue, IBS, Migraines, Sleep Disorder, trigger point pain, numbness and tingling in your extremities and other conditions that will just irritate you. Most doctors' will try to treat the separate symptoms but all that does it put medication in your body that seems not to work but if you don't take the medication you feel worst. I hope you fine some help but unfortunately I have not.

Thank you for this. I think only recently am I coming to terms with the possibility of being "disabled" for the rest of my life. It's been kind of a devastating thought at this point in my life right now. Been suffering for 6 years (since 21) already and have a baby on the way. I have 2 boys that I may not be able to be active in their lives *as I thought.* Expectations and realities for me are kind of a bummer right now.

I understand that there is no modern medicinal cure that has been studied and published. I am just now starting the process of starting diagnostic testing (getting appointments made) so that I can get some clues as to what I may have, although I think my current symptoms and past history, including the costochondritis diagnosis in 2008, I would be surprised if it were not fibromyalgia. I would like to get it documented and service connected so that at least I can have some type of history of care if it progresses even further.

It would just be nice to have a better idea what I am afflicted with so that I can start self-treating NOW (possible diets or stretches that may help, what to avoid/what to consume type of stuff) so that I don't have to wait on the VA boneheads to take a year or two to tell me that I might have a condition.

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I'm still pretty knew to this forum, but I'm grateful for how helpful you guys have been.

I feel like I'm losing my mind. I honestly can't remember when the problems started but best guess is around 2 years ago. I did 1 tour in Iraq in 2007-08. I'm currently rated 10% for back injury and 10% for tinnitus. Recently I stumbled upon an article about Gulf War Illness and I'm starting to wonder if the problems I've been having are connected.

The worst has been the pain. It is everyday but it moves around. Sometimes it's pretty much everywhere in my back, legs, arms, neck, knees, hips and elbows. Other times it might be just my back and legs, or back and neck etc. It's like a severe throbbing pain, and it's always worse after any sort of activity. I worked on my car one Saturday and I could barely function for the next 2 days from the pain and stiffness. Headaches have also become a regular occurrence

On top of that I've had trouble sleeping and always feel like I've barely slept. I always wake up frequently in the night. Depression and anxiety are frequent (but more depression than anxiety). Fatigue is less frequent than pain but definitely noticeable. My memory is slipping (which my wife is kind enough to point out constantly), and I regularly forget what I'm doing (like standing in the family room trying to figure out why the hell I'm in the family room). My left eye twitches uncontrollably at times, and I have persistent red bumps on my thighs and waist.

I'm not sure what to do. I am honestly affraid to bring these symptoms up with my doctor. I've been with him for about a year, and I suspect that he won't believe me because I've never mentioned these problems before. Hell, I was even embarassed to tell my wife about the pain. She knows about my back injury, but until last week she didn't know about the rest of it. I've started a log to describe the symptoms day-to-day, but even that has been difficult.

What would you guys suggest? It feels like I'm losing my mind.

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I'm still pretty knew to this forum, but I'm grateful for how helpful you guys have been.

I feel like I'm losing my mind. I honestly can't remember when the problems started but best guess is around 2 years ago. I did 1 tour in Iraq in 2007-08. I'm currently rated 10% for back injury and 10% for tinnitus. Recently I stumbled upon an article about Gulf War Illness and I'm starting to wonder if the problems I've been having are connected.

The worst has been the pain. It is everyday but it moves around. Sometimes it's pretty much everywhere in my back, legs, arms, neck, knees, hips and elbows. Other times it might be just my back and legs, or back and neck etc. It's like a severe throbbing pain, and it's always worse after any sort of activity. I worked on my car one Saturday and I could barely function for the next 2 days from the pain and stiffness. Headaches have also become a regular occurrence

On top of that I've had trouble sleeping and always feel like I've barely slept. I always wake up frequently in the night. Depression and anxiety are frequent (but more depression than anxiety). Fatigue is less frequent than pain but definitely noticeable. My memory is slipping (which my wife is kind enough to point out constantly), and I regularly forget what I'm doing (like standing in the family room trying to figure out why the hell I'm in the family room). My left eye twitches uncontrollably at times, and I have persistent red bumps on my thighs and waist.

I'm not sure what to do. I am honestly affraid to bring these symptoms up with my doctor. I've been with him for about a year, and I suspect that he won't believe me because I've never mentioned these problems before. Hell, I was even embarassed to tell my wife about the pain. She knows about my back injury, but until last week she didn't know about the rest of it. I've started a log to describe the symptoms day-to-day, but even that has been difficult.

What would you guys suggest? It feels like I'm losing my mind.

I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist

My suggestion would be for you to seek treatment whether it is VA or private treatment. Keep in mind that chronic physical problems can cause mental problems (depression and or anxiety) and they can cause relationship problems. You may need to talk to your wife about your situation and what you are going through. The sooner you start the better for you and your family

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I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist

My suggestion would be for you to seek treatment whether it is VA or private treatment. Keep in mind that chronic physical problems can cause mental problems (depression and or anxiety) and they can cause relationship problems. You may need to talk to your wife about your situation and what you are going through. The sooner you start the better for you and your family

Thanks, Pete. I think I will try to talk with my doctor about it first, before I go to the VA. It has definitely caused some relationship problems, but now that she knows I think it will be easier to work through them in the future.

Has anyone else tried to keep a daily log of their symptoms? I'm having some trouble with it and wondering if anyone else has tried it. If anyone has, did you show it to your doctor?

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Fibromyalgia is one of the presumptive conditions of the gulf war syndrome. I didn't even have a rheumatologist diagnose me and I was approved first time. I now see a pain specialist routinely and I on medication which has helped some not a complete cure.

What do you mean by "presumptive condition?"

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Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation.

VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These "presumptive" illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling. These illnesses include:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.

Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Functional condition refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without a structural alteration in the tissues. Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome.

Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.

- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp#sthash.N0BoF9ny.dpuf

http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/medically-unexplained-illness.asp

Edited by pete992 (see edit history)
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Folks remember this as this has happened to myself and countless others. If you go the undiagnosed illness route be weary, once diagnosed the VA says oops so sorry charlie dianosis no compensation. NEXT! Get a careful review of your SMR's, private, and VA records, you will need this continuity in order to get this service connected under " cluster of symptoms of undiagnosed illnesses resulting in at least a level of 10% compensable before 2016, its a booger, have a diagnosis do not pass go and no collecting $200.

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